Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Squirrel in the Snow

As a Texas girl, I'm absolutely giddy about the amount of snow falling on good ol' Norman, Oklahoma!

Thus, my heightened appreciation for the following:

I looked out our apartment window a few minutes ago to see a small brown squirrel, digging furiously. After laboring through the inches of snow, he stuck his head into the hole he had created and pulled out an acorn.

He then proceeded to run away, using the intermittent shelter of parked cars.

It is funny (and somewhat sad that I have to explain why I find this humorous) because:

a) How on earth did the squirrel know where the nut was?!
b) Squirrels are just cute, and oddly, cute things seem to make funny situations even more hilarious.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. Chris and I will open presents tonight. Then, of course, it will be Christmas! Unbelievable. Time flies. Have a blessed one.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Contemplations of a Young Wife, Sixth Part

Marriage is a beautiful mess, most of the time, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Today, my eyes are more open to its beauty than it's messiness!

I was away for two and a half days visiting my family in Fort Worth, and only upon returning to my husband in Norman did I realize that "home" is where he is. Because of this, I can be me when I'm with him...and that is a risk both terrifying and great.

The downfall of my introversion is my proclivity to run away from people. I find myself getting frustrated and angry at my husband, sometimes, when he tries to get to know me even more. I refuse to let him near me emotionally, fearing he'll discover a blackness in me that he can't reconcile, and I will be abandoned. It's what I deserve, right?

God is breaking that in me through Chris. Like Chris's love, God's love is not predicated on my "goodness." And, no matter the blackness unearthed by time and sanctification, I cannot be separated from Him. Like my marriage to Chris is sealed and unbroken, so is my position as a child of Father God.

Now, if only to let this kind of love extend beyond husband and wife! I've recently been accused of refusing grace to someone who has tumbled down the spiritual mountain, so to speak. As you can imagine, the comment stung, and left me listening for the Spirit's conviction or reassurance over my flesh's condemnation.

I don't want the deeper kind of love that Chris and I strive to show one another to remain in the microcosm of marriage. I don't mean to make the maintenance of this mindset sound like an easy project. As Paul repeats in Philippians 3:12-14, I don't consider myself to have taken hold of this. That's why it's good for me to articulate it here, as best I can. There's tacit accountability in openly recognizing an issue.

Well, dear reader, I don't know if you'll hear from me again before Christmas, so I say: Merry Christmas, and joy in the manifestation of perfect love that we're celebrating! I want to go play HALO Live with Chris and eat the fudge that P.J. and Katie brought over at 7:30 this morning!

Jaimie, out!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You didn't even know it was there...

Good day, dear reader. Well, my last final is this afternoon, so I'm sprinting to freedom with a silly grin on my face...while flipping frantically through A History of the Ancient Near East and memorizing the names of Old Kingdom pharaohs.

Except for when I'm on the computer, of course.

I came upon something striking this morning in a Psalm that I've read several times before. In Psalm 19, David opens by extolling the glory of God, and then the goodness of his law. After listing how amazing the Word in five verses, he closes with a sort-of introspection:

Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! [note: I like the exclamation point here!] Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.

Easy for you to say, David. How do you plan to go about doing that?

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

David is praying for something he's not entirely aware of. Of course he doesn't know his hidden faults: they're hidden! Yet, the psalmist desires to be "blameless." This is not for personal fulfillment but for the glory of God spoken about at the opening of the psalm. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight" [emphasis mine].

How does David confront sins he didn't know were there? He appeals to God.

This challenges me to make a higher standard for myself in my speech and thoughts; I don't want them to merely be permissible, but "acceptable!" More importantly, I want to depend on God to sanctify me here. This is a personal conviction, so let the Lord speak to you through this passage as He will.

I agree with David when he says in verse eight that "the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart!"

Celebrate the coming of our Lord this holiday! Have safe travel and a restful vacation!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Guilt and Breakthrough

So...I skipped class today.

It is only the second time I've skipped class all semester, and I was coming back from a doctor's appointment and knew I couldn't make it to school on time.

So, dear reader, tell me why I feel so darn guilty!

My entire life, I've built my sense of self-worth on the things I've gotten "right." It creates a strange pride: self-love when I succeed and self-loathing when I fail, as if I am the only one in the world not allowed to be imperfect.

Seriously, how do you extricate that kind of thinking/behavior from your lifestyle when it's all you've know for twenty years? Only by the grace of God, I'm told. I'm waiting for that specific grace as if waiting for a bolt of lightning to strike, even though I know that God tends to work more...progressively, I suppose. I must admit, I don't like the fact that sanctification takes time.

No duh, right?

I am an impatient person. I'm impatient with myself, and I'm impatient with God. Might as well face the facts.

That's where I'm at, and I joy in the knowledge that I won't be here forever. This will take baby steps, like most worthwhile things do. Here goes step one.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dry Spell

I hate dry spells.

Maybe God is trying to show me that I cannot conjure wisdom or understanding; He is the great Teacher.

I always try to derive the "lesson" that I'm "supposed to learn" from God when life happens, and I mean always. Unsurprisingly, I hit a wall when I can't even hypothesize the lesson because the situation seems so pointless.

Right now, inspiration isn't coming easy. By inspiration, I think I mean that feeling of spirituality that often accompanies a personal insight or revelation. While I objectively recognize what a good thing this is--my relationship with God cannot and must not be based upon feelings--I still hate dry spells!

God, give me the patience to walk through this period, and the grace to sit at your feet and know you more, no matter what I think or how I feel.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Short and Sweet: For the "Good Kids"

Today's post by Jon Bloom on the Desiring God blog was so encouraging to me, especially having grown up as the "goody-goody" in my private Christian school!

Do we have to be redeemed drug/alcohol/sex addicts to really know the radical, transforming grace of God?

It's not very long. I encourage you to check it out!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Music Review - I Dreamed a Dream by Susan Boyle

Surely, you haven’t forgotten Susan Boyle.

When the middle-aged Scottish woman stepped onto the stage of the show Britain’s Got Talent, she probably had no idea that her stunning performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” would become virulent YouTube material as well as land her a recording deal with Sony. Her album, I Dreamed a Dream, released November 24 with opening-week sales of over 700,000, proves what a talent Boyle really is.

She was lauded for the passion she conveyed singing on stage, and that passion is definitely not lost in the album. Boyle’s classic voice was made for dramatic songs: her incredible range and penchant for vocal flourishes serves her well. Also, she’s easy on the ears, even in loud soprano songs such as “Wild Horses,” the first title on I Dreamed a Dream (think toned-down, British version of Celine Dion).

I Dreamed a Dream showcases Susan Boyle in an array of singing styles, from the jazzy “Cry Me a River” to an oddly elegant cover of The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer.” Unsurprisingly, several of the titles play to the notion of lost love, which is a major reason why Boyle’s song in Britain’s Got Talent tugged on our heartstrings in the first place. This blatant emotional appeal is quickly justified when listening to Boyle, however, whose vibrant voice adjusts to each different style as appropriate, bringing variety to a common theme.

I am disappointed that I Dreamed a Dream features so many songs that electronically tamper with Boyle’s voice. The album uses weird echoes liberally, which detract from, rather than enhance, the beauty of the song. Boyle—with her good enunciation, strong attack and clear sound—has enough skill to stand alone, without anything to make her sound more ethereal or interesting.

The arrangements of most of the songs do not impress me, either. I’m shocked at how many times a gospel choir rises up behind Boyle’s voice: it does not mix well with her almost-Broadway sound. In addition, much instrumental potential was lost in the attempt to mellow out songs using synthesized instruments.

However, I Dreamed a Dream—and Susan Boyle—is a definite keeper. The singer has already made an emotional connection with her audience that is invaluable to the effect of her album. Reflective and poignant, I Dreamed a Dream will please a wide range of listeners with Boyle’s undeniably beautiful voice accompanied by a message that her voice breathes life into.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Writer's High and Other Things

I'm currently working on a short story for intro to professional writing, and oh, do I love it! It's supposed to be 2,000 words, but I'm about to spill over that already.

There is something very exciting and refreshing about writing someone else's world. I find myself lost in the world as I write. Though I will forever insist I'm not trying to exist through the people I create, I can't help but do that, sometimes. I grow so immersed in the colors and voices and places.

The project? A sort-of commentary on reaching womanhood and right vs. wrong. Stay tuned.


How was your Thanksgiving? Excellent, I hope. My mom spoiled me to pieces while I was visiting my family in Fort Worth. She bought me a box of Godiva dark chocolates, as she did last year, which I plan to eat one at a time every morning until Christmas. It's like an Advent calendar...minus recognition of Advent. And the calendar.

Chris and I purchased our first Christmas tree, which is terribly exciting to my ever-present inner child. Though it is only 4 1/2 feet tall, I am happy because that guarantees my ability to put ornaments at the top.


Today, my professor told us, "You're twenty! You've been alive politically for, like, five seconds."

Lol, professor. Lol.

That's all I got. More steak and less popcorn at a later date, but maybe not until after finals are over...